By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has stated that his men prevented the Bring Back Our Girls protesters from accessing the Presidential Villa last week for security reasons.
Reacting to public outcry generated by the move, Idris said the police chose to deny th protesters access to Aso Rock not out of hatred, but to prevent “rowdiness” around the Presidential Villa and in furtherance of their responsibility to provide security for the occupants of the Villa.
Idris spoke at an event marking the 2016 International Day of the Disappeared/Missing Persons, held at the headquarters of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Represented by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Labbo, the IGP said the police were not out to prevent the protesters from seeing the President.
The IGP, who advised the group’s members to always channel their grievances and messages through their leaders, said they will only be allowed to meet with the President through their leaders.
The IGP’s position was in response to a question by one of the mothers of the missing girls, identified as ‘Mama Dorcas,’ who sought to know why the police was against the agitators for the rescue of the missing girls.
Labbo said: “We sympathise with you. We did not stop you from meeting with the President. Anytime you want to see the President you can meet with the President but you have to nominate your leaders to meet with the President on your behalf.
“We believe that all unions have leaders. We are at the Villa to protect the Villa and we will not allow any rowdiness around the Villa. Please send some delegates, two or three of them to meet with the President.
“Whenever you want to see the President, go through your leaders. They will talk and the President will listen to you because this government is always ready to listen to you.”
Speaking on the need for the Federal Government do all within its powers to rescue the missing girls, the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Prof. Bem Angwe, said it was one of the primary the responsibilities of every government to ensure the people’s rights to security and welfare.
Angwe noted that the rights of the people “presuppose that everyone should live without any fear of abduction, enforced disappearance, kidnaping, enforced, displacement as a result of insecurity, natural disasters etc.”